Thousands of mourners chanted as they marched on Monday in a huge funeral procession for a prominent fighter in Hezbollah who was killed along with five other members of the militant group from an airstrike by Israel in the Golan Heights.
Iran added to this combustible mix when Tehran announced that the airstrike, neither denied nor confirmed by Israel, also killed a senior general from Iran, underscoring the deep involvement Iran has in the Shiite organization in an area on the doorstep of Israel.
The deadly attack on Sunday placed Hezbollah in a difficult situation, as it considers how to best respond. Retaliation in a significant way risks drawing even stronger responses from Israel, that could plunge the Lebanon based group into yet another crippling war.
Stretched thin and deeply involved in the civil war in Syria where the organization’s fighters are fighting alongside the forces of President Bashar al-Assad, Hezbollah must decide as well whether it would be able to withstand another front with Israel.
On Monday, Jihad Mughniyeh was buried in Beirut. He did not have a senior rank in the group, but was the son of Imad Mughniyeh one of the top operatives in Hezbollah and considered to have built military operations of Hezbollah and the group’s second most revered individual.
He was killed in 2008 in a Damascus assassination bombing that the group claims Israel’s Mossad carried out.
Mughniyeh was 25 and took on a role of more prominence after his father’s death. He has been seen in photos with the leader of the group Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah as well as with Ghasem Soleimani a powerful General in Iran.
A think tank in Washington said that for the Hezbollah rank and file and leaders as well, the attack against Mughniyeh on Sunday was like one of the family being attacked.
Since Hezbollah has yet to avenge the murder of Imad Mughniyeh it makes it that much more important for the leadership of Hezbollah to react in a big way to his son’s killing regardless of the risk it causes of heavy reprisals from Israel.